Today Willem and I went to Windsor Castle (following our trip to Buckingham Palace yesterday). A very different royal residence, with a much more masculine feeling.The metre high dolls are called France and Marianne. The outfits and accessories were made by various Parisian haute couture ateliers, including dresses by Lanvin, Rochas and Worth; Cartier jewellery; cases by Vuitton and handbags by Hermès; as well as Lancôme and Guerlain perfume. The garments range from underwear to day dresses, evening gowns, coats, gloves and hats, shoes and so forth. All hand made and many embroidered. There are a total of 360 items.We were able to see Queen Mary's Dolls' House, with its miniature furniture, including textiles and embroideries. The next gallery we saw in the Palace will appeal to followers of French fashion, because it includes the garments made for two, large dolls presented in the name of the children of France to Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, during a state visit to France by their parents, George VI and Queen Elizabeth, in 1938.
Scattered around the state rooms that were open to the public were embroidered regimental flags and military uniforms decorated with fine passementerie. In the rooms assocatied with the Order of the Garter, there was an embroidered garter band with the motto honi soit qui mal y pense, and a beautiful example of the garter emblem worked in gold thread. Tucked in one corner of another room was a large, seventeenth century embroidered box, but unfortunately it was not possible to get close up to it to see how it was made.
The afternoon was spent walking around the town of Windsor and the road to Eaton School. There are various tailors along the road who clearly show that 'dress and identity' is alive and well at Eaton. In particular the waistcoats worn by some of the senior students are simply gorgeous.
Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, 31 July 2016